Maybe this afternoon's news that Splinter Cell: Conviction – aka Badass: The Game – and Red Steel 2 were being delayed from later this year to the beginning of next year took you by surprise. Not us, Reader. We've become so desensitized to the pain of losing highly anticipated titles like Conviction to the vagaries of a tumultuous market that we can no longer tell delays from cancellations. We've got it bad.
So, we tuned into Ubisoft's conference call this afternoon in the hopes of gleaning some new information from CEO Yves Guillemot. To our pleasure, Mr. Guillemot provided some details explaining why one of his company's already very delayed major releases would be delayed further. "Red Steel and Splinter Cell are going to greatly benefit from the additional polishing time we are providing and will clearly be among the leading brands on the Wii and 360 for the March quarter," Guillemot said. If you'll recall, Splinter Cell: Conviction had already missed its original 2007 release date.
When asked why these two games were being delayed, Guillemot explained, "The changes on Splinter Cell and Red Steel – it's just a question of polish. The team was asking that they couldn't be with the level of quality on all the maps and all the game for the end of the year, so they had asked for more time to be able to come with a better product, for both of those games. The quality of the games is there for what you've been able to see at E3, but we were not able to have that same quality on the full game of those two products."
Of course, in a conference call full of analysts and investors, the tiny matter of lost sales came up. Guillemot admitted that, for "those two products, it's around a million units" of lost sales in the first month. However, when faced with releasing subpar titles or losing a stronger opening month, Guillemot came down strongly in favor of the latter. "We really think with the level of quality that we'll be able to obtain with the time we give them we will have a long shelf life for those products," he explained. "Now, because [Conviction and Red Steel 2] are launching during that quarter, they will not do as many units for the first month as they would have done in November/December, but we think that on the long-term they can achieve more units than what they would've done."
And it sounds like Ubisoft's patient partner for the still Xbox 360-exclusive Conviction – that would be Microsoft – doesn't mind waiting another couple months. Guillemot says, "We still have the full support of Microsoft because they know that if we can bring a very high-quality game this will help their machine. So we still have the full support from them." And if they deliver a quality game, they'll have the support of gamers as well. Your move, Ubi.